Les Claypool's Duo de Twang headlines at the State of Jefferson Music Festival and Hemp Expo.

Les Claypool, Curtis Salgado headline Jefferson State Music Fest

This weekend, the State of Jefferson Band will park its fourth annual Jefferson State Music Festival and Hemp Expo at a new location on a 32-acre field in the boonies of Grants Pass.

The event will feature a roster of more than 30 bands, in addition to educational hemp forums and art and food vendors. Campsites also are available so you won't miss a thing.

Everything takes place between 10 a.m. and midnight Friday through Sunday, Aug. 23-25, at 14390 Highway 238 (next to the Provolt Store), Grants Pass.

The State of Jefferson Band hosted its first music festival 11 years ago. Its original intent was to provide local bands with another outlet, but over the years, its motives changed. Now, its July music festival and food drive garners enough food to feed several hundred families for a year, and its August music festival and hemp expo, established four years ago, raises awareness for the practical uses of cannabis.

"Hemp can save the planet," says Erik Vestnys, the band's keyboardist. "It's one of the most versatile plants on Earth. Anything you can make with petroleum, you can make with hemp; and one acre of hemp equals 10 acres of trees. That's my activist pitch.

"All the bands that play the Hemp Expo support the hemp movement. They bring out their fans and supporters, and together we all raise awareness."

This year — thanks to an impressive music lineup that includes Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, Curtis Salgado and Floater — Vestnys estimates that 3,000 people will attend the festival each day.

The diverse music program will include everything from a jazz group with vibraphones to a full-blown reggae band, each performing 45-minute sets.

The much-anticipated Duo de Twang features Claypool, who Rolling Stone calls "one of the all-time best slap bass players," and guitarist Bryan Kehoe of M.I.R.V. The duo, which formed last fall, will perform stripped-down versions of songs from Claypool's lengthy career.

On Friday, Floater, a Portland-based, Grammy-nominated trio, will present a modern mix of rock, psychedelia, reggae, pop and jazz, and on Saturday, bluesman Curtis Salgado will deliver a set of his original R&B, funk and blues.

In May, the harmonica player won three Blues Music Awards: Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year, Soul Blues Album of the Year and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.

His festival performance will include songs from his 2012 album, "Soul Shot," a collection of originals and '60s and '70s R&B, including songs by Johnny Watson, George Clinton, Otis Redding and Bobby Womack.

Also look for local favorites such as 100 Watt Mind, Michelle Bellamy, the Turner Moore Band, Frankie Hernandez, Stereotyped and, of course, the State of Jefferson Band, which will play an eclectic mix of improvisational, jam-based Americana.

Each day between 2 and 6 p.m. in the Earth Dome, cannabis advocates will present on the medicinal, industrial, agricultural, economic, religious and environmental uses for the plant. Speakers include Anthony Taylor of Compassionate Oregon, Dave Seber of Hemp Shield and others.

Beer and wine, courtesy of All We Create Productions, will be available for purchase.

Tickets cost $20 per person per day and are available at Operation Pipe Dreams in Medford, Dragon's Lair Glass and the Provolt Store in Grants Pass, the Williams General Store and at www.jeffersonstatehempexpo.com. Camping passes cost $75 and include admission to the festival. Children 11 and younger, accompanied by an adult, get in free.

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